Social media is a ubiquitous tool that has become part of our daily routine. It’s one of the many ways we communicate in our society. Whether we realize it or not, we often develop biases or assumptions based on what others post publicly on their social media accounts. Employers large and small should keep certain things in mind when it comes to employees’ use of social media. Here are some things to evaluate.
Your small business brand is the culmination of the messaging you put out, the content you produce, what others have to say about you and the way the information is digested and interpreted by your potential customers. This also includes statements about both your business and the opinions of the employees who currently work for your company. The behavior of your workers, both on duty and off duty, oftentimes is an extended reflection of your business brand, especially if these individuals have you tagged as their current employer.
Social media provides an efficient tool for communicating information to your staff. Social media offers various convenient tools for businesses to convey information both internally and externally. Unfortunately, social media can also be a source of harassment. Using social media to communicate with employees blurs the lines between official business communications and personal conversations. It’s a common issue for these unofficial communication channels to cause friction in team settings.
More companies are beginning to incorporate a formal social media policy into their employee handbook. This provides small business owners some protection and clearly delineated guidelines as to appropriate social media usage by your company and by your employees. Small businesses should consult with ad agencies or other strategic planners to identify social media engagement policies and responses for common occurrences to include in the handbook, such as negative feedback, libel or employee retaliation.
Overall, it’s important to realize that what is said on social media about your business, especially by current employees, have both primary and secondary implications. While some things may not be posted publicly, through screenshots and viral sharing, it’s still possible for posts to get out beyond their originally intended audience. However, while social media can have drawbacks, it also provides a tremendously valuable communication tool both for employees and customers.
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